How I Travel - Version 1.0
Lately, several people asked me about how I travel the world. I thought instead of repeating my answer to everyone, writing a blog about it would be easier for me and hopefully beneficial for you. Before you continue reading, though, I encourage you to read my Who? What? Why? page to know more about me and my background.
To be honest, when I first started traveling I had no idea how I want to travel, what works for me and what doesn't. However, traveling for almost 6 months along with making all kind of stupid mistakes has taught me what ways of travel work best for me. I can't guarantee that the way I travel now will stay the same forever. Therefore, this blog is the first version of how I travel. Whenever I learn better ways to travel I'll write another version.
Before I indulge in explaining how I like to travel, you must understand that everyone has their own style of traveling. How I travel might not suit everyone but it might encourage you to start and show you that you can do it too!
Traveling Is My Lifestyle.
The normal lifestyle is to own a home, a job, a car and pay bills at the end of each month. This "normal" lifestyle doesn't suit me. It's very predictable and boring. I can't settle down in one place. I like to explore and live in different places and meet different people. Therefore, traveling is my normal lifestyle.
I'm a Traveler Not a Tourist
Traveling as a lifestyle means I'm not a tourist. I don't travel to see few buildings and statues in a country and leave. I live as a local in every country I visit. This type of traveling is called slow travel.
What Is Slow Travel?
Slow travel means that you stay in a country more than a week. I often stay for a month or more in each country I visit. By traveling slowly I can live as a local, make lasting friendships, understand the culture and take my time in exploring the city/country I'm visiting. One of the many things I like about slow travel is that it's not about the number of countries I visit, it's more about the experiences I live, the people I meet, the places I see and the lessons I learn. I might not travel to all the countries in the world but I will be able to live deep and unforgettable experiences. Besides, I hate the idea of packing and flying every few days to a different country. It's very exhausting and kills the fun for me. In short, my goal is to live as a local wherever I go.
Money & Travel Expenses
You are definitely going to need money to travel the world. How much you will need, though, depends on your flexibility and how you want to travel! luxury travel requires a huge amount of money. On the other hand, low or medium budget travel requires less money. For me, being a minimalist is what enables me to travel on a low budget and enjoy the freedom of traveling. In any case, you need to start with some cash. I started with the money I saved from my previous jobs. It wasn't much but it was enough for my needs.
I mentioned above that traveling is my lifestyle and it's not a temporary phase. It's part of my routine and how I enjoy life. Hence, my living expenses must support this kind of life. These expenses include flight tickets, accommodation, food, adventures and sometimes shopping for necessities. Meanwhile, non-traveler expenses would include house rent, home maintenance, electricity bills and so on.
It's a good practice to think yearly rather than monthly when it comes to your budget. This way you will be aware of how much you will spend during the entire year and manage it accordingly.
Here is how I manage some of my expenses to spend less money and be able to travel more:
I use Airbnb. It's a platform where people offer their home for rent. Some offer a private room, a shared room, or an entire place. I usually go with the private room. I like Airbnb because I can find a good place with an affordable price. Another advantage for me is that I get the chance to live with locals which enable me to understand the culture more. All my Airbnb experiences were amazing so far. I met generous and kind hosts and I'll be always grateful for each and every one of them.
Get $25 off your first stay on Airbnb here!
There are different platforms for accommodation such as Couchsurfing. This platform is free of charge and it allows a host to lend you his/her couch for few days. I haven't used Couchsurfing yet, will do very soon, but here is a good video on how to choose the right host when Couchsurfing.
Another platform which I'm planning to use very soon is Workaway. It connects you with organizations, individuals or farms to volunteer for them for 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week or less. In return, they will provide you with accommodation and food and no money involved.
I cook my own food. I'm sure this is going to be a shock for most of my friends and family members because I almost never cooked before. Well, I had to learn how to cook because eating in restaurants kills my budget and it's unhealthy. The same goes for the pre-prepared meals in the supermarkets. I've met few awesome people during my travels who taught me how to cook healthy and delicious food with a low budget. I can't say I'm an expert but I've learned a lot. Surprisingly, I ended up enjoying cooking. It's fun, very healthy - because I know what's inside my food - and cheap. So, why not?
I do eat from the local restaurants but only once or twice a month and they have to be within my budget. If you're wondering why I'm not enjoying the local food, well, I am but in a different way. I can learn how to cook any local dish or ask some of my local friends to teach me. Simple, right?
Try to be flexible when you buy groceries in different countries. Don't stick to the same food in every country you visit. Find out what are the cheapest groceries to buy and focus on what the country produces locally. This way you can spend almost the same amount of money on food in any country you visit.
Booking flights is one of the hideous and tiring steps in traveling. Yet, it's very important. I'm still learning the best practices and hacks for booking cheap flights. Whenever I master finding great flight deals, I'll write about it in details and share my tips & tricks with you. For now, I'll leave you with some of the videos that taught me how to find cheap flights.
- How To Get Cheap Flights
- How To Find Cheap Flights - Flight Booking secrets & Best Booking Sites
- How I Find Super Cheap Flights!!
Just remember that finding good deals on flights takes time and a lot of trial and error. Be patient and learn from your mistakes.
Here's a wiki page that helps me find the visa requirements for Saudi citizens. I'm sure you can find a similar page for your own country.
Fun & Adventures
My adventures and how I have fun are a little bit different than others. Here's how I have fun:
1. I open my amazing offline map and I save all the interesting places I see on it.
2. I look them up online and understand what I can do and don't there, whether they're safe or not and read some reviews. If I don't find anything about them online I go anyway!
3. Every week I choose a destination, I take my water and fruits and I walk to it.
Yes, I walk! I started this challenge not long ago actually. I try my best not to use any public transportation unless I have to and I walk to the destination I want to visit. By walking I can find more hidden and quite destinations, memorize the roads, exercise, think about silly things and of course walking is free! The places I've visited by walking so far took 2 - 3 hours to reach. I'm challenging myself to walk to farther away places or maybe nearby towns/cities.
- Must be free of charge. I don't stick to the tourist attractions because they're usually expensive and boring.
- I can walk to it. If not, then reaching it must be within my budget.
- Preferably a natural place where I can enjoy the beauty of the earth.
Sometimes my local friends take me to the places I want to visit or they recommend by their car/motorbike. Free of charge as well!
I Travel Solo
I truly believe that you won't be able to find and develop your true self unless you travel solo or spend quite some time alone in any way you prefer. I don't mean you shouldn't travel with others but I think it's better to at least start solo. I'm sure some Alnins will disagree with me on this but I'm speaking from my own experience.
Some of my friends asked me if I feel lonely because I travel solo and my answer is that most of the time I do not. In every country I have visited I met amazing people and made great friendships. Meeting people from different backgrounds, beliefs and values have helped me grow and learn.
Traveling as a Saudi Women
Please note that this section is meant for a Saudi female Alnin. Thus, you can skip it if you want.
Ever since I started traveling, all the Saudi women I know have asked me very similar questions. Here are most of them with my answers:
- Are you traveling alone?
- Did you get married :O ?
No, thank god!
- How did you get your guardian's permission to travel?
The answer to this question is the story of my life which is very boring. I'll skip it and tell you what you can do:
- Your life is based on a chain of decisions you make every day. Make the decisions that will enable you to be happy and free.
- Don't underestimate the power of imagination. I used to imagine traveling the world almost every day of my life and now I'm living my imagination.
- Please do not get married just to travel. You'll end up unhappy and chained to another guardian.
- You want your freedom then go and get it! Don't wait for a man to give it to you because no one can except yourself.
- Fight for what you want but in a smart way. There are always workarounds, I promise. Just use your brain and think.
- Seek help but only from the right people and not by marrying someone you don't like as I mentioned above.
- Did you run away?
I thought about it when I was a teenager but never done it!
- How did you manage to travel without a man?
By traveling without a man.
- Are you crazy :O ?
- Is it safe to travel without a man?
I've never been safer!
- Are you studying abroad?
No, I'm a traveler.
Let me know if you have more questions about how I travel. I'll do my best to answer every one of them.
Don't Forget to share share share ;)